All across the United States, high school students prepare annually for the SATs. These tests, for better or help to determine which colleges will accept them. Needless to say, this puts a ton of pressure on these students to not just pass, but rather to excel.
But how should they go about studying for these all important tests? While school districts do their best to prepare students, they sometimes fall short. The biggest reason for this is because the tests change from year to year, while the school’s curriculum remains stagnant. Their best bet is to study an SAT prep book.
That is why we put together this list, to help those students look for the best SAT prep book. We have reviewed lots of different prep books and put them on our top ten list. We have also provided an in-depth review of what we feel are the top five SAT prep books.
When you are looking for the best SAT prep book, there are a few different items that the book should contain.
Material Review. The SATs cover a lot of different material spanning both Reading and Math. It is best to look for a guide that offers an overview of the content that the test covers. Even if the book doesn’t have an incredibly detailed review, it should explain what might be on the test so that the student can study it on their own.
Practice Questions. The best prep books will have lots of practice questions for the students to try out. Guide books will give the students a better idea of what they should be studying and allow them to take a sort of “open book” version of the test before the real thing.
Sample Essay Questions. One of the most difficult sections in the SATs is the writing section. Some of the prompts that students will experience and have to write about are difficult. If the guide has sample essay questions as well as multiple-choice, it will better prepare the students for the real deal.
Of all of the different guides that we reviewed, we found this version to be the best SAT prep book on the market. It was cheap and offers great insights into the test to allow students to accurately review the different types of questions that they might come across during the SAT. It also has sections that discuss the various topics that are fair game for the test designers.
However, the best feature of this prep book is that it comes with six different practice tests; this is a very high value since it allows the students to review what might be on the test multiple different times. It also gives in-depth reviews of each question, which will is designed to get the students to think about how they should answer the questions for the best possible score when they take the real test.
Summary: This SAT prep book is relatively cheap, but provides students with excellent content to review for the SATs. It features six different practice tests with in-depth answer explanations.
Our number two selection comes with some outstanding resources to help students prepare for the SATs. It features five different diagnostic tests that will help guide students as to what they need to study to increase their SAT score. What makes this an excellent choice, is the fact that two of the tests are print based, while three of them are online.
This online element gives a quicker turnaround, so students will better understand what areas they need to review before they take the real test. Once they online tests are completed, they give immediate, detailed feedback that shows the students areas of fluency and areas of concern.
While this prep book does provide vast resources, it is also one of the more expensive books that we reviewed.
Summary: This SAT prep book offers three online tests, as well as two print-based. These provide excellent diagnostic tools for students so that they have a greater understanding of their areas of need.
This unique guide provides students with six different practice tests, with four online and two inside of the book. While this is highly valuable, it is not what provides the best value from this guide. Unlike some of the others that we reviewed, this takes into account the mental side of taking such an important test. It provides useful insights and tips for students to better pace themselves during the test to maximize their results.
That is not to say that the practice tests are not valuable as well. They offer detailed explanations for the different types of questions that the students may encounter during the SAT. It also provides a step-by-step guide as to how to best answer some of the higher level questions.
Summary: While this guide does offer an excellent overview of the types of questions and material covered by the SATs, it truly shines because it provides helpful tips for students to prepare mentally for the test. The guide gives excellent advice for pacing during the test as well.
This guide takes a bit of a different approach than the others that we reviewed. Out of all of our choices, this was the only book that students wrote. The authors of this book are students who have taken and excelled on the SATs. It is drafted in an easy to understand conversational tone and offers great insights into how to do well on the test.
This conversational tone not only makes it an easier and more entertaining guide book to read but also helps to alleviate some of the stress associated with the tests. Reading about other students’ success and understanding how they did it is also a big stress reliever.
Summary: Since students were the ones who wrote this book, it is a unique offering for SAT prep. Their insights are powerful and useful. The tone in which they wrote the book is a great stress reliever in of itself.
The authors of this SAT prep book are SAT instructors who have attempted to impart some of their knowledge into it. It features four full-length tests and explanations of how to best answer different questions. There are hundreds of sample questions that offer step-by-step explanations for how to solve them.
One of the significant drawbacks for this guide is the fact that it does not include an explanation for each question in the sample tests. We feel that this might exasperate students rather than help them to achieve their best possible score.
Summary: The authors of this prep book are SAT instructors. As such, it offers some useful insights into the best strategies for taking the tests. However, not all of the sample questions have an answer, which might make it just as confusing as the real test.